Five years ago this month, the Nasdaq hit an all-time high. Then, the bubble burst. Out went the capital markets. Out went the media spending. Out went the unsustainable businesses.
But, also out went the baby with the bathwater. For a number of years, the word “internet” was a dirty word. It was the punchline of jokes. I was embarrassed to tell people that I founded an internet company.
I am happy to officially state that the Internet is now raised from the dead. No, this shouldn’t be news to anybody who is in the industry. And, in fact, anyone who has ever purchased media from Google’s Adwords in the past few years knows that the Internet really never perished.
Sure, it’s broad category. “The Internet.” It’s content, it’s e-commerce, it’s advertising networks, etc. – it’s so many things. But generally-speaking, it’s back.
Google’s IPO last year didn’t open the floodgates for other initial public offerings. But it did help facilitate the mergers and acquisitions market, albiet a few months later. Yes, online mergers are hot again. The New York Times $410M purchase of About.com from Primedia, one of my former employers. Then, last week’s IAC/InterActiveCorp’s agreement to pay $1.85 billion for Ask Jeeves. Flickr. Snapfish.
But it’s not just a “Google effect,” as some would argue. It runs much deeper than that. Yes, Adsense and Adwords have provided a technology platform for monetizing “free” content and search on the web. However, other models are flourishing – subscription-based content on dating sites, a la carte pricing for mp3’s on iTunes, and downloadable try-before-you-buy executable games on gaming and general portals – just to name a few. And new technologies and applications are just emerging, like RSS, social tagging, and vertical search.
Yes, the Internet is back. And I am happy to be here.